For the past fourteen years, we have used McGee and Me in our eighth grade Bible curriculum at WCS. The twelve episode series was the product of Focus On The Family and followed a series of kids from about sixth grade through eighth. Each thirty minute episode revolves around Nick Martin, his family, and several of his friends from school. We watch on Thursdays in the spring and the kids have a fifteen question quiz at the conclusion of the DVD. It's a tradition the kids love. McGee and Me is well-made and teaches Biblical principles in a story form the kids really enjoy. Honestly, I almost have the dialogue memorized after so many viewings. We started out with VHS and upgraded to DVD but the message has remained constant.
I've noticed something over the years that's very curious to me as a guy. This year, it's been more apparent than ever. All of the main characters in the series are pretty good youngsters with one exception: Derrick Cryder. Derrick is a bully, a jerk, a poor student, a juvenile delinquent, and a kid who makes all the other kids' lives miserable. The fascinating thing is the majority of the young ladies in eighth grade have a crush on him to one degree or another, and some of them to a high degree. This week, when he wore a tank top, some of the girls commented on his muscles and several more made mention of his eyes. Did I neglect to mention he's also in need of a haircut, is bigger than everyone else, and wears an earring? I mean, they are almost transfixed when they are watching his scenes. You know what they say when I ask them about it, don't you? It's the age old answer; there's something about a bad boy. I explain he's probably about thirty eight years old now, Johnny Green, the actor portraying Derrick. It doesn't phase them at all. In their mind, he's perpetually a middle schooler.
It doesn't make any sense to me. These are the nicest girls you would ever want to meet. When we have written about marriage, they are eloquent in their conviction that they will wait until they find the right Christian man to spend their lives with. And yet the lure of the dangerous is strong even in a video. It's probably not that different than the way adults are pulled to the dark side even as we profess our faith and try to stay on the right path. It's a tug of war between lightness and darkness for all of us. These girls will outgrow their Derrick Cryder crush. (SPOILER ALERT: In the last episode, he's evolved from their tormentor to their friend and protector, from Nick's enemy to Nick's conscience.) It might take awhile for these barely teens. This week, I showed a clip from a movie called Walking Across Egypt in which the main character was, you guessed it, a fourteen year old juvenile delinquent. Same reaction; one of the girls asked if we could watch the whole movie. I laugh at them. I accused one of the young ladies of looking for her boyfriends on America's Most Wanted. She'll get over it because her folks, who I know very well, will help her make boy decisions until she gets to the point where it becomes truly a life changing choice. By that time, Derrick will be at least forty-eight and only an eighth grade memory. If only all of us could get to the point where fascination with what we know is bad for us is only a long-ago thought.
Applicable quote of the day:
"The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of."
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org